Europa League play-off draw recap

The group stages for Europe’s three club competitions have been wrapped up and with the final standings confirmed .

europa league title

The group stages for Europe’s three club competitions have been wrapped up and with the final standings confirmed and the draws for the knockout stages made, anticipation is starting to build as we enter the business end of the season.

Surprisingly, all three tournaments are beginning to look rather exciting. Yes, even the new Europa Conference League, which was made a bit of a mockery of before it’s maiden campaign, as sides like Leicester City, Marseille and Celtic stand amongst some minnows.

The Europa League also has the potential to be one of the best renewals in years, with the likes of Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund dropping down from the Champions League and joining an already elite crop of sides. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look back at how the play-off round draw panned out!

Barcelona vs Napoli

Undoubtedly the tie of the round, five-time European champions Barcelona will go head-to-head with Italian giants Napoli. A premature exit from the Champions League after finishing third behind Bayern Munich and Benfica in their group would have been a bit embarrassing for Barça, who haven’t played in this competition since 2004, and it certainly wouldn’t have helped their financial woes. However, this is a chance for Xavi to win some silverware and gain an automatic place in next year’s Champions League. Beating Napoli will be no easy feat though and this tie will be extremely hard to call on this betting exchange site.

Borussia Dortmund vs Rangers

While on paper, Borussia Dortmund vs Rangers doesn’t seem like much of a contest, with the German Bundesliga side expected to wipe the floor with the Scottish champions, one thing is for sure — the atmosphere will be electric at both legs with the Signal Iduna Park and Ibrox famed their noisy concourses. Giovanni van Bronckhorst was part of the Rangers squad that beat Dortmund in the UEFA Cup in Glasgow back in 1999, but Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, Marco Reus, Giovanni Reyna, who is actually named after the Gers’ new boss, and co. will likely prove too strong for the Dutchman’s squad though.

Sevilla vs Dinamo Zagreb

It seems that Sevilla just can’t get enough of the Europa League. Having won four of the last eight editions of Europe’s secondary competition, Julen Lopetegui’s men have dropped down from the Champions League group stages again this year and they will be keen to get their hands on the trophy for a seventh time in the last 15 years or so. Dinamo Zagreb recorded some impressive results in their Europa League group, including wins over Genk, Rapid Vienna and West Ham United, but inconsistency meant they finished second behind the London club. Sevilla should have too much firepower for the Croatians.

RB Leipzig vs Real Sociedad

As feared, things have spiralled out of control at the Red Bull Arena this season. Julian Naglesmann did such an incredible job with RB Leipzig, including that amazing run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019-20. But the general consensus when he moved to Bayern was that Leipzig would suffer greatly this season and that is exactly what has happened. They are currently seventh in the Bundesliga and looked set to crash out of Europe all together, only for victories over Club Brugge and Manchester City, who albeit had nothing to play for, saving their blushes. Real Sociedad have been one of the surprise outfits in La Liga this season, so this is going to be a very close tie to call.

Full draw

  • Sevilla vs Dinamo Zagreb
  • Atalanta vs Olympiacos
  • RB Leipzig vs Real Sociedad
  • Barcelona vs Napoli
  • Zenit St. Petersburg vs Real Betis
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Rangers
  • Sheriff vs Braga
  • Porto vs Lazio

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